I Still Talk To Fruit

We’ve been down this road. I previously confessed my tendency to consider the feelings of inanimate objects. There was no fallout from that disclosure, and I have no regrets for divulging what weighs on my heart.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Since that post, things haven’t necessarily escalated, but this tendency hasn’t diminished, either. Does this make me a little crazy—or just irresistibly caring? I’ll let you decide.

I won’t leave for work in the morning without opening all the shutters in the whole house. Is it because I love the morning sun pouring into the space I love? Kiiiiinda. Is it because, as we’ve discussed, I’m a morning person and the idea of a new day, with new opportunities, starts coming to life as soon as I welcome in the new day’s rays? Sorrrrta.

Is it that I feel like the house wants to see outside?

It is.

I feel the house exhale a satisfied “ahhh” as I begin opening the shutters—and I feel it escalate with every new window I open.

I sometimes think it’s a shame the A/C unit is outside the house, working its butt off for a home it can’t even see into. That’s why I love opening the laundry room shutters the most. The unit is right outside that window, and I feel like I’m giving him a peek inside the house he’s grinding it out for.

Side Note: I do not think the A/C unit says, “Mornin’ Miss Anna” every time I open those shutters—and whoever told you that (or insinuated it), is a slanderous lying liar trying to tarnish my good name. Seriously, that would be so tilted if I thought Marvin the air conditioner greeted me each day.

umm

Is it really that weird? Asking for a friend.

A lot of my angst around non-human things centers around guilt I feel about the things I choose for my day (a towel, a banana, a shirt), or for a recipe (a bunch of cilantro, a package of mushrooms), or for groceries (lemons, a roasted chicken, avocados). I never want what I choose to cause the ones not chosen any grief.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Not knowing (if things want to get picked or want to stay with their family) is what weighs on me.

Enter paper towels.

Most of you already know, we shop at Costco. One of the things we buy in bulk is paper towels, and they go up in the laundry room utility closet. Every time I go in to get a new roll, I’m momentarily paralyzed by the uncertainty of their desires. Do the rolls want me to choose them, or are their fingers crossed that they get to stay? Is getting chosen like getting OFF death row, or is it like heading TO the electric chair? Is it like being pulled up from the minor league to the big league or is it like being yanked from the big leagues and sent to coach junior high? Do they consider this closet a place to hang with their crew—and do crew things—or do they think they’re stranded on an island, where most of their days are spent waiting to get rescued?

I’ve convinced myself that, like people, they want to do what they were created to do. They want to clean up spills and get your count tops spotless. I have to believe that. For instance, if I was put on this Earth to break dance (and I’m almost positive I was), and I never got to shock and lock, then I’d never fulfill my role and my existence would feel incomplete. Yeah, hanging out with other break dancers would be cool for a while, but what I’d really want is to get out and execute a real smooth b-boy sway into a flawless windmill. Then I’d be whole.

So I tell myself that as soon as I grab a new roll, the other rolls are chanting and cheering it on. “Eddie! Get it boy! Show’em how it’s done son!” Sure, there’d be one hater not chiming in (there’s a hater in every bulk pack of Bounty—trust me on this.)

I usually just grab the roll, take his jacket plastic off and place him on the paper towel holder. I let him know we’ll be spending a couple of weeks together, doing big things. I’m more and more convinced my choosing him made him proud.

I also experience a fair amount of guilt over tossing a product before I’ve used the last bit of it. Liquid soap, bar soap, mustard,

Side Note: That’s not why I drink pickle juice from the jar before I toss it.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Can we just go ahead and agree that the last bit of any product is like, “Wait! Don’t go! No fair!” Here they are, surely knowing they’re in their twilight days, but wholly unprepared for a sudden death—not when they still had life left.

Don’t you feel bad now that I’ve shed light on this unfairness? WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

I’m consistent, if nothing else—I continue to apologize to things I run into. I can’t stop; the apology is out before I know it. And it’s a double sorry, because I’m sorry for the object—and the body part involved. My body is counting on me to execute the most basic function of protecting it. It probably knows that some things—like car wrecks, falling shelves at Kroger and spooning too-hot soup into my mouth—are accidents, with no ill-intent whatsoever. But I’d bet good money my body expects me to protect it from slamming into a door facing I’ve successfully avoided for 10 years. I bet it absolutely does not give me the benefit of the doubt when I smack the hair dryer into my head, when I’ve escaped this errant motion the last 490 days. How could I NOT apologize?

I feel bad for things that annoy me just by doing their job—like our chirping fire alarm. The ONLY other way I’d know about its dead battery could end in my own death. Also doing its job? My alarm clock. I wake up about three minutes before my alarm goes off around 90% of the time. But when it does get to obnoxiously buzz me awake, I feel aggravated and bitter—but then I feel bad because it’s doing the job I actually asked it to do.

And I’m not about to hit snooze. Snoozing holds no appeal for me. All it does is provide a new layer of annoyance. Why would I want to relive the shock of the alarm, over and over, for nine-minute bouts of semi-sleep? I liken it to snacking. I’m not a snacker because I want the real deal—a meal. And when nighttime comes, I want the real deal—sleep. That’s probably why I’m not a napper either. I want the whole shebang.

Side Note: Obviously I snack sometimes and nap on occasion. Please—I’m not THAT weird.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Maybe I’m a little weird; whatever.

As bad as I feel for all these things, you’d think personality tests results would show extremely high empathy levels, but surprisingly, they do not. I know why. It’s because those online tests are trying to discern if you are empathetic to the human race—which I’m probably not. I’d like to be, but mostly, I have too many issues with humans and their …  ways.

I do, however, have an abundance of potentially misplaced empathy for animals. Not house pets—they’ve got more than enough crazies caring for them. Sorrrrrry, I shouldn’t say things like that; I know I’m the minority and I know it’s now societally acceptable to call a dog your child, to let your hairy canine sleep in your bed, and to let his butt-licking mouth touch your pillow.

I’m talking about wilder animals. I find myself feeling kinda sad for animals who didn’t have a choice in who they’d be in our world. Take crows, for instance. The stiff ones that skulk around restaurant patios with their beaks half open, squawking loudly for a french fry. They’re not pretty, they don’t move gracefully, their voice isn’t melodic and they get a lot of dirty looks—what a crappy life.

That brings us to vultures. How would you like to come into this beautiful world … as a turkey vulture?

I Talk To Fruit

Imagine sort of looking like an eagle, but having an unattractive head that’s a little bit dinosaur’ish. Then imagine that you weren’t designed to hunt; but strictly to be nature’s sanitation service. What a fate.

– Daddy, why am I bald?
– Oh, sweetie—your fleshy head makes being in carcasses more sanitary. You don’t want those pesky intestines sticking to your pretty feathers, now do you?

– Babe, what sounds good for dinner?
– I could really go for some road kill.
– Mmm, raccoon innards—that’s what up. You plan the best dates!

– Aye Dude, what’chu you wanna do today?
– Oh I don’t know, maybe just sit on this telephone pole, look down menacingly at all these passers-by and wait for some juicy roadkill to waft up into our prehistoric nostrils?
– A’ight, cool.

– Hey Dad, I’m heading out with the crew—I’ll see ya later.
– Son, you’re not a crew, you’re a kettle. A crew works at a construction site, or is in charge of flying a plane. When you hang with your kind, you’re a kettle. Remember that.

Side Note: Vultures can sniff out a dead critter from a mile away. That’s how I feel about some of my coworkers feet. But that’s another story.

Another Side Note: Speaking of being born this way. I feel so bad for vegan vultures.
– Mom, what’s for dinner?

Probably possum.
MOTHER, I’m vegan!
Fine, rattle snake?
Mom!  
Well Heavens, can you have armadillo?
Mom! I can have leaves, sticks and dirt that’s never had an animal walk on it. That’s it.
Can you have frogs?
-<flies away really hard>

Yet Another Side Note While We’re On The Topic: Wanna know which non-human I don’t feel especially sorry for? Siri.

She’s extremely helpful, and I often wonder how I survived without her—but she also makes me shake my fist at the sky. Why is it that she always says “left” and “right” EXCEPT when I need it most—when I’m just getting started out of a parking lot. “Go northwest on Mulberry.” NORTHWEST? Sooo, up and sideways? Come ON, Siri. Are you here to help me or hurt me?

She’s also super repetitive and naggy—UNTIL I need it most. “In 2 miles, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive. In 1.5 miles, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive. In 1 mile, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive. In half a mile, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive.” Then when I’m going through the light, “Turn right on to Bishop Hills Drive.” That’s too late, Siri Michelle Gellar!

And how about her favorite non-directive, “Proceed to the route.” I’d love to … IF I KNEW THE ROUTE!

Oh well, she makes us laugh though. Recently, she kept calling Chicon Street “Chicken Street” and it got funnier every. single. time.”Continue on Chicken Street. Arrived at destination—1171 Chicken Street.”

Go home Siri, you’re drunk.

I’d like to say that this time next year, I won’t be attaching human emotions to inanimate objects, but I think we both know that’s unlikely. I, in fact, just had a little pep talk with our shy peonies. It was less of a pep talk and more of a guilt trip. We got them from my Grandma’s garden after she passed away, and although they’re further along than last year, they’re not really rep’ing her the way I’d like (and the way I know my Grandma would like!) I got down real close to the new, but flowerless growth, and used the sandwich method … told them I was excited for what they would become (then slid in how disappointed Grandma would be if they didn’t step up to the plate) then said I knew they’d come through with flying colors.

I’ll let y’all know if they respond the way the sago palms did.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Do you talk to fruit?

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Sometimes I Want Funyuns

My eating habits aren’t too bad. They’d need to be better if I cared more about six-pack abs than general happiness, but I do not—so for what I value most, I do pretty well. For me, the quickest way to make life less lovely, is to wake up day after day with food restrictions.

food

I opt for a more doable solution, which is simply … moderation. I eat really well more meals of the week than I don’t. If there are 21 meals in a week, I go wheels off for probably 6-7 of them. That’s really all there is to it.

When it comes to the other 14-15 food decisions, I’m usually pretty good.

Although.

Sometimes I eat good and stay mindful of what I’m putting in my body—doing quick calculations of my veggie and protein intake, ensuring I have a well-balanced eating day in the works … but sometimes, I just want Funyuns.

Sometimes I want to take a short plunge into clean eating—really go all-out whole foods from the earth—and truly experience feeling light and good and full of energy. I want to blog about whole food recipes that I’ve tweaked for full flavor; I want to post on Facebook about a new spaghetti squash recipe that hit the spot … but sometimes I just want two dozen donut holes and a quart of chocolate milk from the “spudnut shop” where I grew up.

Sometimes I count calories and do my best to stay away from empty ones (or ones that are a total waste simply because they’re not shared with someone who’s fun to eat with) … but sometimes I count how many Takis I can eat in a single sitting without a drink of water.

takis

Sometimes I want to go home after work and make baked Dijon chicken, cauliflower mashed “potatoes”, grilled asparagus from the garden and a spinach and edamame salad with Meyer-lemon balsamic vinaigrette … but sometimes I just want to whip up some Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. From the box. And not share.

It’s really not much different in other aspects of my life. My intentions are usually good and I typically end the day feeling pretty happy with my decisions and follow-through.

Except.

Sometimes while driving, I’m deep in thought, pondering the gift of life and love, the importance of forgiveness, the beauty of hope and the depth of my gratitude for having all of them … but sometimes I’m just thinking about all the ways Stephen Curry lights up an often dark world.

curry2

Sometimes I’m listening to books and learning more about things like Aspergers or organic gardening or slavery, through the magnificent characters in the stories I choose … but sometimes I’m listening to my iTunes library on shuffle, which means—for reasons I can no longer recall—I’m listening to Barry Manilow singing Even Now, live at Madison Square Garden.

Sometimes I wonder what it will be like to be in God’s presence. I think about the depth of His grace and mercy and play out all the ways I imagine Heaven to be—full of everything good and happy, from love and peace to music and feasts … but sometimes I just wonder what it would feel like to drive a riding lawnmower.

Sometimes I want to extend grace to the driver who rushed past everyone on the shoulder, and now demands entrance in front of me … but sometimes I want to get out of the car, assume an athletic stance—with my knees shoulder width apart—and fully extend my arms in front of me to flip them a double bird. For a full 5 Mississippi count.

Sometimes I want to dive into the gazillion pictures I have on multiple hard drives, and take time to go through them and delete near-duplicates and ones I’ll never need again … but sometimes I end up watching YouTube videos of animals who became unlikely friends.

unlikely friends2

Sometimes I want to stop wishing for it, and talking about it, and wanting it, and just get online and register for Rosetta Stone and learn Spanish … but sometimes I end up on curious.com trying to learn how to start a fire in the wild.

Sometimes I want to be really patient with people who aren’t keeping up, (like when I’m deep into a great story, and building to the ending, and then I reach the crescendo and someone says, “Now who was this about?” voiding out the entire narrative.) I want to be kind and understanding and give them the benefit of the doubt that I wasn’t clear who the main character was (even though I know I’m not that inept) … but sometimes I actually just want to forbid them from being in my presence until they’ve taken some classes on keeping up.

jimhalpert

Sometimes I sit down to hand-write a couple of notes or letters … but sometimes I end up just practicing my autograph instead.

Sometimes I want to be more limber and get my muscles stretched out. I’ll read about an ideal stretching routine and all its benefits … but sometimes I just squat like a catcher for 6-7 seconds, then pour myself a cold beer and take pictures of the garden.

Sometimes I become resolute in my intentions to kick my Chapstick habit addiction … but sometimes I tell myself to calm down and remember that there are worse compulsions— then I reward my enlightenment by replenishing my stash in every spot I might spend more than 10 minutes.

Sometimes I’m good at dealing with difficult people at work and at Costco. I employ tactics like imagining them as a 6-yr old child, or telling myself everyone is fighting some kind of battle … but sometimes I watch them being their stupid, controlling, infuriating self and I want them to burst into flames.

Sometimes I want to finally go through old boxes and throw away some things I’ve hung on to, and no longer care about … but sometimes I end up reading my middle school report cards and college basketball stat sheets—and posting them on Instagram. #baller #3pointsforme #notalwaysanAstudent #basketballb4boys

Sometimes I have the patience of Job and enjoy the journey … but sometimes I have the patience of an itch and just want all of the guacamole in my belly.

Sometimes I want us to keep saving as much money as we do now—even more—so we can spend our retirement very comfortably and happily, traveling the world and decorating a second home bungalow … but sometimes I think surely all these blood moons mean something, and the end is near, and maybe we should just head out now.

Sometimes I get really antsy wanting to go back to Italy and spend two weeks looking at the Mediterranean, enjoying the Tuscan countryside, eating fresh pasta, eating fresh bread, drinking local wine, getting away from work, getting away from traffic and construction, getting away from a schedule … but sometimes I … no wait, I always want that. Those intentions are solidly in place.

Where do your good intentions take a sharp left turn?

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I’m Not That Picky

It’s not a secret that quite a few things in this life bug, bother and baffle me. We’ve united in furytwice. But the other day, I was chopping up pickles for tuna sandwiches—and making absolutely certain to keep the butts (where the stem had been) out of the mix, for people who are particular about such things—when I realized that it really all balances out. Meaning, there are lots of things I don’t mind at all, that others simply cannot abide. I noted this fact as I popped the butts of about 15 baby dills in my mouth, while doing a happy food dance.

Maybe I’m not as picky as I once thought. Let’s swan dive into some examples.

I don’t panic over banana strings, because I’m too busy eating them. They’re called phloem bundles—but I just call them “part of the banana”—and they help carry nutrients to the entire fruit. So while you’re delicately removing them with grouchy, pursed lips, my fully nourished body has moved on.

bstrings

I also don’t mind extreme heat. I was born and raised where it’s routinely over 100 degrees in the summer—and I like it. In fact, I like it to be so hot it’s hard to breathe. Bring it. I prefer dry heat, but I’m not that picky. I also love the deliciously crippling heat of saunas and steam rooms.

Side Note: My mom loves steam rooms, too. One time we were at a spa in Arizona and decided it was time for a good steam. The room was rather large and looked a lot like this:
steam room
Ours was brighter and appeared welcoming. Other women were already in the middle of their terrifying experience steam, so we found a spot and sat near each other. Our moods were good as we anxiously awaited purification. We were quietly carrying on about something—more than likely the location of our next meal—when all of a sudden, the loudest, eeriest, most horrifying sound came surging out from below the benches. I’d liken it to Darth Vader’s breathing, but about three minutes longer and maybe how he’d breathe if he had fingernails and someone was pulling them off, one by one, with needle-nose pliers. Right when the sound started, I jumped out of my skin and held both palms up high to show I wasn’t armed, then turned to look at my mother—who I thought would always protect me—but I couldn’t see her. I couldn’t even see my own body. WHERE WAS MY BODY?! It was like a thousand angry cumulus clouds had filled the room. The sound, plus the absolute blindness—and truly not knowing if something had gone awry in the bowels of the generator—had me disoriented and confused. Just when I was about to assume the fetal position and re-invite Jesus into my heart, the steam stopped. I could sort of see the door, and soon, a few faces even came into view. I looked to my left and my mom was sitting straight up, bug-eyed, with both hands on her heart. Once we made eye contact and blinked hard a few times, we died out laughing. Then we held each other and promised to never let go. Then we remembered food was next on the itinerary, and the joy was back.

We needed comfort.

We needed comfort.

I’m guessing this isn’t common, but I like to listen to songs on repeat. If I fully and completely love a song, I can literally have it on repeat for several days. However, I never re-read books—ever—even ones I dearly love. I have zero desire to re-read a story I’ve already fictitiously experienced. I’m sure these two things don’t jive, but it’s my reality. I also never re-watch movies. Wait—that’s not true. I forgot about Dumb & Dumber. And Tommy Boy. And Knotting Hill. Oh, never mind; I was younger then. These days it would feel like such a waste of precious time to re-watch a movie.

And now I’m probably going to make some of you mad. So if you have a short fuse or feel defensive over your slothful ways, you might want to go stand by that sink of dirty dishes and count to ten. Here goes.

I enjoy cleaning. The house, the garage, the porch, the car. I love trimming trees and pruning hedges. I like putting away clean laundry. I like taking out the trash. I like sweeping off the patio. Certain tasks are more rewarding than others, and I especially delight in the ones where I can see marked improvement and revel in the visual appeal of orderliness. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind, so I love making—and keeping—things neat.

Order creates harmony and happiness in my brain synapses, so cleaning doesn’t feel like a chore to me.

Side Note: This is one of the many reasons I’d find driving a tractor or running a lawn service more fulfilling than wordsmithing Hello Kitty dresses. Plowing a field, mowing, landscaping—something where I can see progress—satisfies my being on a cellular level.

Side Note For The Side Note: My friend text the other morning and said she stopped to fill up on her way to work and saw a bunch of lawn guys jump out of a truck. She found herself looking at them longingly, like TAKE ME WITH YOU. She also has a good job—the kind we’re supposed to want—but there she was, looking dreamily at the crew and wanting to jump in the back of the pick-up with her own bag of Takis. She thought I’d think she was crazy, but I told her, “Shut. Up.” the way I do when she texts me pics of good food, because, I. KNOW. AND. I. WANTS.

This plus this equals YES PLEASE.

This plus this equals YES PLEASE.

Hand in hand with cleaning is this: organization soothes my soul. I love the satisfaction I get from changing a light bulb, putting new batteries in a flashlight, charging my Fitbit and cleaning out a junk drawer (I’m almost totally positive I don’t need the gas bill from 2012 or those tiny, random screws or 2-year old lip balm I never liked to begin with.) I love adding new passwords to my master file and feeling like I have my affairs in order. Disorder weighs on me—I can feel it physically. I have approximately umpteen thousand trillion photos and videos saved across 3 hard drives and the Backblaze cloud—and they’re mostly organized by date and event—but I also have lots of duplicates because of edits and photo albums. It soothes me that they’re safe, but weighs heavily on me that they’re not fully organized the way my brain wants them to be.

Side Note: At any given time, if someone thinks I look off my game and asks what’s wrong, it’s probably just that I need to organize the pantry or pack for a trip. Nothing is wrong, I’m just mentally tidying up—which often times presents itself as a serious face.

Please don’t get physical with me, but I also love waking up early on weekends. I know that’s not popular, but for me, it just means I have more time to do things I love. An extra hour or two allows me to make the most of every minute not spent at my work computer. If I’m asleep, I’m just dreaming of life, but if I’m awake, I’m actually living it—and that makes me happy.

I drive 40-45 minutes to work each day—each way—and I don’t mind it at all. I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Reading is fuel to my soul and my commute allows me to get through exponentially more books than I would if I just read before bed. I actually look forward to getting in my car each day, so I can get back to my story.

audible

I know many people who just hate certain words. I have to say that, while I completely and irrationally despise the word “tasty” … I’m not as passionately disgusted by “moist” as a lot of people I know and love. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like it or use it, but I don’t run away plugging my ears either.

Side Note: One time, my sister and I were discussing words we dislike and most of the usual suspects came up (ointment, panties, goiter), and then she said, “I HATE the word duvet.” I just laughed like, “Duvet? You hate duvet? You actually have an opinion about duvet?” She got more and more worked up the more she considered this “obnoxious” word. I was becoming weak from laughter when my niece—just as serious as her mom—chimed in, “I can’t stand the word “elsewhere.” I decided they were two peas in a pod—just two peas hating-random-words-they’d-have-a-hard-time-escaping-in-this-life in a pod. Just two ointment-hating peas in a moist, tasty pod.

Sorry, I’ll go now. But not before I share the greatest comment section of all time—please enjoy all 2,800 and thank me later.

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